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February 09, 2020

For Such a Time as This

What does moving forward in your life look like? What does taking a risk mean to you? How has God put you here for such a time as this? Listen or read to find out.

Mike Gerhardt, 02-09-20, Esther Series #4, For Such a Time as This, Esther 4:1-17. I know it is early in the year to think of graduations.  Moving forward in your life can be filled with risk. Commencement speeches can be boring. We all have heard that graduation isn’t an end; it is a beginning. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the one who'll decide where to go. - Dr. Seuss. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain. Your families are extremely proud of you. You can't imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be the most opportune time to ask for money. - Gary Bolding. My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary section. - Norm Crosby. To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the 'C' students, I say you too may one day be President of the United States. - George W. Bush, US President

But let’s get serious, life and pain come together. You can't have one without the other. The goal of life is not to avoid pain but to triumph through it. There are lessons that only pain can teach us. Pain is inevitable; misery is optional. A New England Prim-er 17th century included this for children to learn: Our days begin with trouble here, our life is but a span, and cruel death is always near so frail a thing is man. Job 14:1-2 Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. The Message: We’re all adrift in the same boat: too few days, too many troubles. We spring up like wildflowers in the desert and then wilt, transient as the shadow of a cloud.

Get Real. We live in the physical world of natural disasters: tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, floods, earthquakes, and tidal waves. In the emotional world, we live with recurring depression, discouragement, neuroses, psychoses, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and abandonment. In the international world, we live with war, revolts, takeovers and suicide bombings. I know this is discouraging, but the reality of sin is all around. Evil is the root of pain and suffering. Maybe you're thinking if I can get a great paying job, a nice house, a car, a spouse who loves me and a couple of kids- then I will be happy. Give me my personal property, my personal peace and just leave me alone and everything will be just right. You can wake up now. Esther was a peasant girl who became queen of the Persian Empire. She had servants, riches, exotic food, clothes, travel, everything. She may have been saying to herself, I have arrived, just leave me alone and everything will be just right. That kind of life isn’t moving forward. That kind of life isn’t considering all of what God has planned. That kind of life isn’t fulfilling. Ask anyone who has tried it. Moving forward in your life can be filled with risk. You may be surprised that as Janet and I were preparing to quit both our jobs & leave for seminary, many said that they could never make a sacrifice like that, risking everything for ministry. Some of these people were church leaders, people of faith. I'm not saying you need to pack up and go to seminary or to leave to be a missionary in Africa but sacrifice and risk are what we are created for. I am not talking about taking foolish risks like jumping out of a plane or rock climbing; I am talking about Kingdom of God risks. Comfort and safety are secondary considerations. Edward Hale wrote: I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Make a Choice. Esther had to make a choice to hide her identity and do nothing or take a risk and possibly face death. We can hide but that does not exempt us from what we must do. We may not want to humbly serve the Lord. We may not want to be merciful, forgiving but we are called to be merciful and forgiving as God is to us. We may not want to be sacrificial and serve but that is what we were created for. We have all the excuses. The Bible tells us that God has given each one a ministry, a place to serve in the Body of Christ. We have a purpose greater than ourselves that we are to follow. None are exempt from God’s work. We are all called to share our testimony. God wants us to be involved. We are the best person for the job God has prepared for us to do. But when we refuse God will provide another. We will miss the blessing and the joy of serving Jesus. We will miss our reward in Heaven. Satan and his demons strive to keep us from doing God’s work. Maybe we have fear of failure, rejection or ridicule; maybe it is just being lazy or lack of commitment; maybe it is not knowing what to do. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The decision is ours to make. It is a lifestyle decision with major movements and events. We can either elect to serve or not. God forces no one to serve. Our choice, however, has eternal consequences. We decide to trust Jesus to save us. We let the Holy Spirit rule in our hearts. We decide to serve and worship God. We decide to do His will.
Esther had to make a decision that could have meant life or death for her and her people. She was afraid. She placed her trust in God. She stepped out on faith. She overcame her fear, went forward in faith and served God. Like Queen Esther, you have been brought to this place in your life: this place of decision, this place of uncertainty, this place of opportunity! Some thoughts: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Edmond Burke. Therefore, to him who knows to do well and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17. For such a time as this, we have been created. Some parents let us live without boundaries and without purpose. You may think they failed you. You may be right. But you do not have to fail God. He still wants you to participate in the greatest work on earth, His work of reconciliation and restoration. Reconciling men and women through salvation and restoring the fallen. Decide for life, whatever may come to be, I will love and serve Jesus with my heart, soul, mind, and strength. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson We may need to change our hearts right now. Try not to become a man of success but a man of value. Albert Einstein For such a time as this.